Craigslist

The information you want

Archive for April, 2009

Meeting IL AG Madigan

We look forward to meeting with Attorney General Madigan to discuss progress made since our Joint Statement last November, and to hear any and all ideas she and others may have that could help reach our shared goal of eliminating illegal activity from craigslist, while preserving all of the functionality and positive attributes that are currently enjoyed by the overwhelmingly law-abiding craigslist community of users.

A Tribute to Katherine Olson

We appreciate the messages of support we have been receiving on the tragedy that has unfolded in Boston. Many have asked us what they can do to help. One of the best ways is to spread the word regarding personal safety precautions that can help make using craigslist (and the Internet as a whole) even safer.

In this regard we ask everyone to check out the memorial concert in Minneapolis on May 3rd, “A Tribute to Katherine,” in memory of Katherine Ann Olson. craigslist is honored to join with the Olson family in celebrating the life of their daughter, and and in keeping her spirit alive through an international scholarship program that has been founded in her name. You can download a tribute album for Katherine put together by the artists who will be performing at this concert on the LP33 website .

We share the belief expressed by the Olson family, that when the darkness comes upon us we need to band together, and we encourage everyone to join them in letting Katherine’s light shine.

CL Collaboration with AGs, NCMEC – Early Results

The early results from the collaborative joint effort announced last November between craigslist, 43 US Attorneys General, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) have been spectacular, and we have been remiss in not saying more about them.

Here is a graph of the posting volume trend in “erotic services” over the past 12 months, as we added measures like phone verification (March) and credit card authorization (November) to the site:

The percentage reductions for the 5 cities shown range from 90% to 95%

Beyond the enormous reduction in ad volume, the ads that remain on the site are much improved in their compliance with our Terms of Use and local laws, in part due to screening measures developed in collaboration with the Attorneys General and law enforcement.

In this same timespan, craigslist staff have continued to work closely with law enforcement agencies across the country to vigorously pursue those engaged in the horrific crimes of human trafficking and exploitation of minors.

Finally, net revenue is accumulating from the fees now required of those posting under “erotic services,” 100% of which is earmarked for donation to worthy charities, and we will soon be in position to begin distributing these funds.

Our collaboration with the state Attorneys General and NCMEC has only just begun, and there will be more progress and good works to announce in the months and years to come.

George Weber

Our hearts go out to the family, friends, coworkers and many fans of George Weber. We are horrified and deeply saddened that craigslist may have been associated with a violent crime. We will of course provide law enforcement investigators with any assistance they require in pursuing their investigation.

We take many steps to prevent criminal misuse of craigslist and, in particular, to protect the safety of users. These measures include encouraging users, when meeting someone for the first time, to insist on meeting in a public place, to tell a friend or family member where they’ll be, to take along a cell phone, and to consider taking a friend with them.

While violent crime is exceedingly rare on craigslist, with only a handful of cases known out of billions of face-to-face human interactions facilitated through the site, sadly, there is a risk whenever meeting a stranger for the first time.

Justice Served

We again extend our heartfelt condolences to the Olson family, and are thankful that justice has been served in the courtroom, so that the focus for all those who cared for Katherine can now rightfully return to the celebration of her life, and the inspirational example that she (and her entire family) have set for us all.

A memorial concert in Katherine’s honor entitled A Tribute to Katherine: Letting Her Light Shine, which is happening on May 3rd in Minneapolis, will raise money for a scholarship fund in her name at St. Olaf College. More details are available here:

http://www.concertforkatherine.com/

Business Plan Seeking Teleportation Scientist

From the “neither here nor there” department:

We are a small group of very well qualified businessmen who have a complete business plan that aims to yield investors, and partners, 1,000% returns within only a five year period. We have all the pieces in place, including CEO, marketing, and finance management. The only missing piece is YOU!

http://www.craigslist.org/about/best/nor/1040248146.html

Barter Economy

As we’ve seen during down economies in the past, growth in usage of the “barter” section of craigslist is accelerating, up more than 100% in the last year alone:

Tragedy Strikes in Boston

Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Julissa Brisman. We are horrified and deeply saddened that our community services have been associated in any way whatsoever with a crime of violence.

We will of course do everything in our power to assist law enforcement in apprehending the perpetrator as soon as possible.

Given the crime rate in society at large, it is remarkable how exceedingly few crimes have any connection with the 50 million Americans using craigslist each month. This reflects the good intentions of virtually all craigslist users, the effectiveness of staff efforts to prevent crime from reaching the site, and perhaps realization among criminals that using craigslist in connection with a crime is a virtual guarantee that they will be caught. Any misuse of craigslist for crime is unacceptable however, and we will not rest until it is eliminated.

Sadly, just as in society as a whole, terrible tragedies are possible despite everyone’s best efforts. We are evaluating this incident closely to see if there are any additional things craigslist could be doing to further improve safety for our users and the general public.

While incidence of violent crime on craigslist is vanishingly low, the risk is not zero, and it behooves us all to take common sense precautions online as we do offline. Personal safety tips for community members are prominently posted throughout the craigslist website and include the following recommendations from safety experts;

  • Insist on a public meeting place like a cafe
  • Tell a friend or family member where you’re going
  • Take your cell phone along if you have one
  • Consider having a friend accompany you
  • Trust your instincts, and report any suspicious activity to authorities

Boston suspect apprehended

We were relieved to learn that the person alleged to have committed these crimes has been arrested, and we will continue to provide law  enforcement agencies with any assistance they may require for prosecution of this case.

We were grateful to hear that the Boston Police Department was very pleased with the citizen response to this investigation, including the number of leads they got, which they attributed to the popularity of craigslist.

Despite this arrest, we urge craigslist users to continue to exercise the same common sense precautions online as they would offline, for example always choose a public place with other people around when meeting someone for the first time.

Response to CT AG Letter

We very much appreciate this new input from Attorney General Blumenthal, and look forward to a continuing collaboration with his office, the other Attorneys General, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). We agree that there is more work to be done, not just by craigslist but by all Internet-based services, working cooperatively with law enforcement officials, to eliminate illegitimate activity to the greatest extent possible.  craigslist is fully engaged in pursuing this goal, and has several initiatives underway that speak to the concerns expressed in Mr. Blumenthal’s letter, concerns which we also share. craigslist intends to play an ever larger leadership role with respect to Internet safety and security, and we invite and appreciate any and all input from Attorneys General, from NCMEC, from law enforcement agents, and from non-profit organizations.  We will have more to say on this subject in the days and weeks ahead.